Angelica Cortez

Boulder, Colorado. The Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) announced today that Angelica Cortez has been appointed Executive Director of the organization. An experienced leader in the arts, Ms. Cortez will succeed Interim Acting Director Laura Yasuda and assume responsibilities on January 31, 2022. The Board thanks Ms. Yasuda for her Interim Acting Director service as well as her seven years of experience in multiple areas of office operations.

Angelica Cortez (she/her) is a Los Angeles-born arts leader working at the intersection of music, education, and justice. She is excited to become the Executive Director of the SAA in January, where she will join a long legacy of educators who believe in the fundamental power of music education and its ability to impact the lives of young people.

“Angelica is a strong, open-minded communicator whose sense of purpose in music education very much aligns with the mission of the SAA,” says Board Chair Ellen Kogut. “She has a firm grasp on the big picture of running an organization as geographically large and diverse as ours. I have experienced Angelica as someone who is incredibly mission-focused and passionate about the work the SAA does–and can do in the future.”

Ms. Cortez previously served as Interim President and CEO of El Sistema USA, where she led fundraising efforts, strategic partnerships, programming, and managed the general operations of the organization. She worked on Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA), Gustavo Dudamel’s signature program, and launched YOLA National, which included annual Symposia for administrators and educators, music festivals and college support for young people, and several national and international tours. Her colleagues at El Sistema USA “are excited to have her in a leadership position in an important and relevant organization in the work of music education,” and say they will miss working with her as Interim President and CEO.

“Our new Executive Director brings a renewed energy and freshness to our organization. Her warmth, skills in communication and active listening, and commitment to education truly stand out and will be a huge asset to the SAA,” says Board Member Bruce Walker. “Furthermore, her dedication to the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and belonging are notable and I am confident that we will begin to see our organization move in a direction that Dr. Suzuki would entirely approve.”

In Angelica’s words, “Suzuki pioneered the concept that music can be a tool for young people’s growth and development outside of music. He encouraged creating an environment and a space filled with love and filled with support, which is something our young people need in this moment. I am excited to facilitate a space for this community. I want to hear from our members and I want to know what they think is important.”

Angelica was selected as one of 11 fellows for Sphinx LEAD (Leaders in Excellence, Arts, & Diversity), a two-year leadership program designed to evolve the industry landscape by empowering the next generation of executive leaders. She is an active speaker, educator, and consultant, recently connecting with students at Cornell University, University of California Berkeley, and University of Southern California. Angelica has degrees in trumpet performance and teaching from University of California Davis, Longy School of Music, and Bard College.

The Suzuki Association of the Americas is the organization officially licensed by the International Suzuki Association to support, guide, and promote Suzuki education in North, Central, and South America. The SAA aspires to improve the quality of life in the Americas through Suzuki education. It seeks to create a learning community, which embraces excellence and nurtures the human spirit.

For more information on Ms. Cortez, see her full bio at the SAA website here. For information about Ms. Cortez’s upcoming “open office” sessions, new communication policies, and ongoing SAA news, see the SAA Website and newsletter.

Media Contact:

Laura Yasuda
Interim Acting Director
[javascript protected email address]